Now, I wanted to share a few of my favorite tools that I use often for “armchair chasing.”


I usually use weather forecasting models, more specifically CAMs (Convective Allowing Models), to get some idea of where the best environment for the storms to flourish is. CAMs are short-term high resolution models that usually go up to 48 hours from generation. My favorite is High Resolution Rapid Refresh or HRRR (shown) for its track record and usefulness for more detailed forecasting of severe weather events. However, they are helpful to a point, so I would take those with a grain of salt.

3/25 12z HRRR for forecast dew points. Credit: Pivotal Weather

I also use long-term forecast models for usually up to a week in advance with a grain of salt. They usually differ wildly after a week, so I don’t trust any model solution past a week. That’s pretty problematic when it comes to severe weather or snow.


Another of my favorite is satellite image or loop from GOES East. It’s very useful just right before event kicks off or during it. One great thing about it is I can look for areas clear of clouds with visible satellite where daytime heating is happening and environment is more primed for severe weather. Also, it has infrared option for nighttime viewing, and it has a tracker for lightning flashes which aids in locating most intense storms.

Example of visible satellite image from GOES-East over Tennessee. Credit: College of DuPage


Image result for cow flying tornado
The iconic scene from Twister. (Warner Bros film)

The ultimate tool for tracking storms is of course the radar. Radar can pick up anything from snow to flying cows. Well, not just airborne cows, but tornadic debris in general. Radar velocity is very useful for looking at rotation in suspicious looking storms. One example is iconic radar of supercell that produced F-5 tornado near Moore, OK shown as featured image. The National Weather Service took the capture of radar image of the infamous tornado. Interestingly, the most prominent feature is “hook echo” of supercell. That is the key feature of suspicious looking storms.

I am a trained spotter and weather enthusiast who spent years enjoying learning about weather. I provide my thoughts and commentaries, sometimes with light humor.